The Struggle for Formal Work: The Everyday Experiences of Russia’s Central Asian Labour Migrants

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This chapter explores the everyday problems Central Asian labour migrants face when trying to formalise their work practices in the Russian Federation reflecting the nature of employment and society in the country. An estimated of 3 to 4 million Central Asians work in Russia, many of them informally, placing Russia as the second largest recipient of labour migrants in the world. Hitherto underexplored in the employment literature, the problems such migrants endure in the workplace reveal much about the problematic systems of labour governance that have developed in Russia after its move towards a market economy–based system. Even those entering the country on formal work permits or under the patent system find it extremely hard to work formally, due to the actions of employers and state authorities. This leaves them vulnerable to abuse, lacking safety at work, receiving low salaries and experiencing problems of nonpayment, as well as being unable to develop or advance their career in Russia. Whilst addressing issues around labour markets and precarity, this chapter also places such employer and state practices within emerging debates surrounding informal work practices. It also addresses issues that have arisen around increasing labour migration resulting from the current economic crisis as governments struggle to cope with increasing influx , thus enabling spaces of abuse to grow.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLabour, Mobility and Informal Practices in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe
Subtitle of host publicationPower, Institutions and Mobile Actors in Transnational Space
EditorsRano Turaeva, Rustamjon Urinboyev
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis, London
ISBN (Electronic)9781003176763, 9781032010137
ISBN (Print)9781032010144
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021

Publication series

NameBASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies


  • Central Asia
  • Russia
  • informal labour
  • migrants


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